Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Home Alone Chicks Prepare for Flight

Wing Flapping to strengthen muscles.
The osprey chicks are building up to making their first flight. The majority of time in the nest is spent preening their feathers to ensure that they are in pristine condition and wing flapping with ever greater degrees of intensity. The wing flapping is a way of strengthening their muscles in readiness for flight.
It is incredible that only seven weeks ago, there were three tiny heads peering upwards from the bottom of the nest and now the three chicks are virtually adult sized and occupy all of the space in the nest and when the adults are there as well, it seems totally overcrowded.

 The male continues to deliver really big fish, the family took 45 minutes to devour a huge fish between them on Monday  and afterwards they appeared to be satisfied for a long time.

On Tuesday, the volunteers on duty did not see a fish brought in for most of the day which could be deliberate action from the male to encourage the chicks to make a first flight from the nest.  If the chicks are a bit lethargic and unwilling to test out their wings, hunger will drive them on eventually.  The chicks were left for long periods of time in the nest alone and they were unconcerned,  appearing to concentrate on more preening and more and more wing flapping.

From this time on, until the end of the osprey season in early September, it is a good time to keep a watchful eye out for ospreys in flight.  Soon all the chicks from other successful nest sites in the Upper Tweed Valley as well as the camera nest family will be flying and fishing at any suitable water bodies, including the River Tweed. So it is worth keeping a pair of binoculars to hand, when out and about and double checking any large birds of prey in flight.

If any birds are spotted through telescopes or on camera with visible ring numbers, please let us know and we can find out where the bird is from and when it was hatched out. Towards the end of the summer this becomes very useful information, as birds from further north will be passing through as well.

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